Spring Skin Tips
Spring is a feel-good time of year – not only does the Springtime make us feel better in general, but it can also be more pleasant for eczema sufferers too with the temperatures being favourable – not too hot, not too cold.
However, when the extreme cold weather fades away with the beginning of spring, it doesn’t necessarily mean that people with eczema are in the clear for experiencing severe flare-ups. Spring brings flowers and a massive increase in pollen and other allergens. This increase in environmental irritants is not great for anyone already struggling with the health of their skin, making the transition period from winter into spring another common time for eczema flare-ups.
Eczema sufferers will know all too well that the itch is very real. From the moment you wake up in the morning to putting out the lights at night, it’s a constant struggle to fight the urge to itch your inflammation away.
When you’re affected by flora and fauna, the eczema reaction is, unfortunately, often accompanied by allergic rhinitis (hay fever) – runny noses, watery eyes and itch skin, a very unpleasant combination.
Here are some tips for managing eczema in the Spring:
- Keep up the fluids to keep the body’s core temperature from rising
- Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise, and make sure you have plenty of your favourite one on hand
- Visit your GP or Dermatologist and obtain a topical steroid cream to assist in reducing inflammation and managing itchiness – by reducing the inflammation of the skin you can lower your chances of getting a secondary infection that can be caused by scratching
- Visit your pharmacist for advice on antihistamines if you are a hay fever sufferer – they can also be useful for helping with itchy skin
- Take a daily probiotic – these can help boost your immune system to more effectively fight off infection caused by scratching
- Change your products – if you have been using an ointment for moisturising during the winter this may now heat up the skin too much – change to a cream or lotion and apply more often
- Pop your skin moisturiser in the refrigerator so it is very cooling to numb itchy skin quickly
- Review your skin routine – make sure your cleansing products and shampoo are suitable for sensitive skin – it may be time to try something new
- Distraction is key, especially when you’re trying to control children scratching their skin – try putting a tub of moisturiser in front of them and encourage them to rub it on or have a competition – you cream their skin while they cream a toy and see who finishes first
- Keep cool – it’s helpful to pop a damp face washer in the freezer and put on or wrap around a really itchy skin patch to numb it and stop scratching
- Stay away from open windows to reduce exposure to allergens and keep your car windows up and put your car air conditioner on air recirculate
- When you have been out and about in the environment, particularly parks and gardens, have a quick rinse off back at home and reapply your moisturiser
- Try an ioniser/ air purifier to remove allergens such as pollen and spores from the air, particularly in your bedroom but also other rooms where a lot of time is spent
- Open the windows on warmer days so that you can combat the drying effects of air-conditioning – just stay a good distance away
- Review your bedding – take some layers off you had on for winter – eczema sufferers do most of their scratching at night – this might also be a great time to invest in some dust mite protective bedding to reduce contact with dust mite droppings
- Try to organise your day so you’re out and about in the early morning and later in the afternoon. Avoiding the hottest parts of the day can really help manage those eczema symptoms.
- Spring is typically picnic season, and that means lots of time outside. Sitting directly on sand or grass can really irritate your skin, so make sure you have a blanket or rug with you on these occasions
- Avoid long showers – take short, warm baths or showers and avoid shampoo running over the body as much as possible when washing hair
- Wear cotton gloves (mittens for babies) to bed to reduce the effect of scratching on the skin
- Wipe down surfaces with a damp cloth every day – this will pick up the dust and pollen that has settled
- Heat and cold both play havoc with eczema skin so even though the weather can still be cool morning and night, the days will be warmer – dress in loose layers made of cotton or bamboo. Have light jackets at the front door so they are within reach when you leave the house
- Use a sunscreen of at least 30+ SPF on any skin that will be exposed when you go outside and be sure it is a sunscreen for sensitive skin – check the label for any ingredients your skin may be sensitive to. If you get sunburnt, make sure you moisturize and drink lots of water
- Wash clothes in a detergent that is specifically designed for sensitive skin that doesn’t contain chemical fillers and additives and only use a hypoallergenic softener
- Choose cosmetics which contain as few ingredients as possible. The fewer ingredients, the less likely you will have a problem with the product – avoid glitter
- Most important of all – don’t panic when you experience a flare – back to basics!
The information in this article was obtained from The National Eczema Society, www.scratchsleeves.co.uk & www.comvita.com.au
This Information Sheet is provided as a service by the Eczema Association of New Zealand Inc to give up-to-date, practical help on certain types of eczema or a particular aspect of its treatment. These sheets are part of our membership package.
It is not the policy of the Eczema Association of New Zealand Inc to recommend or endorse any product or treatment.
It is part of the role of the Association to provide information on a wide range of products and treatments to keep those involved with eczema as fully informed as possible as to all options available. For medical advice, consult your health professional.